A reminder of what we asked:
Auntie Marjorie has form on Christmas Day. As soon as lunch is over and the Queen’s speech comes on the telly she likes to disappear into her boudoir with a good crime novel. She doesn’t emerge until Boxing night. You know she’s depending on you to satisfy her eclectic tastes, so what will you place under the tree for her this year?
Here, 8 authors put their parcels under the tree and Auntie Marjorie says her thank yous…
[Click on the pics to go through to non-affiliated Amazon pages.]
I’m thinking long term here, so I’m putting Peter Robinson’s Before the Poison under the tree for Auntie Marj. It’s a standalone from the creator of Inspector Banks, with a great story, interesting characters and a wonderful sense of time and place. The book is set partly in the Yorkshire of 1953, though Marj is so youthful looking that I’m sure she can’t possibly remember that era. My aim, of course, is to get her addicted to Robinson. There are around 20 novels in the Inspector Banks series, plus standalones, so that should keep her occupied for many Christmases to come!
I’m very passionate about research in the crime fiction genre. Crime novelists who clearly understand the world of the police – as well as criminal minds – will always in my view write the most convincing novels. I recently discovered Jo Nesbo and read The Snowman and it really impressed me in a way not many novels have done recently. I’d gladly give Auntie Marj a Xmas night nightmare with this one!!!
I think Aunt Marjory’s been snowed under with fiction this year. After so many years of uncontested authority, I’d go with the excellent book that tells how Vladimir Putin came to power: BLOWING UP RUSSIA, by Alexander Litvinenko and Yuri Feltshinsky, Gibson Square, 2007. It’s a book I’ve read for research, and have had to return to regularly since. And in the year in which Putin’s gilt appears to be rubbing off and showing the base metal beneath, what better than a book reminding us of the murders and deceptions that brought him and his henchmen to power?
“Dear Auntie Marjorie, I know that you were expecting the latest Patricia Cornwell, but instead I’ve bought you Death in Breslau by Marek Krajewski. It’s a highly original deep-noir tale set in the then-German city of Breslau (modern day Wroclaw, Poland) during the Nazi rise to power, and its central character must be in the running for crime fiction’s most flawed (anti)-hero ever. All the same one can’t help but like Inspector Eberhard Mock, arch-cynic and frequenter of brothels, as he probes a mystery that involves depraved aristos, orgies, SS psychopaths and scorpions. See you at Midnight Mass. Anya”
Auntie Marge would love this under her tree, Hunted by Emlyn Rees. Simple concept, put one man in as much trouble as possible, stack all the odds against him and see how he gets out of it. This is the definition of a page turner, pure action and thrills. But the hero, Danny Shanklin, is no cardboard cut out, he’s a real bloke you can identify with, who just happens to be tougher, smarter and in more trouble than you could ever imagine. Auntie will polish this off in one sitting, just like she does the brandy snaps and the brandy for that matter!
I’d put a copy of KING CITY by Lee Goldberg under the tree for Auntie Marjorie. Plus a thermos flask so she doesn’t have to put the book down to go and make a cup of tea.
I think Auntie Marjorie would love The Franchise Affair, by Josephine Tey. An oldie but goodie (a bit like Auntie Marj herself), this will take her back to an England of afternoon tea and domestic servants, in which two genteel and apparently harmless women are accused of kidnapping and beating a young girl. Based on a real-life 18th century case (which Henry Fielding investigated) this is a good old-fashioned story in every sense of the word – great period feel, elegantly written, and solidly constructed with a proper beginning, middle and end. Auntie Marj will definitely approve.
Auntie Marjorie will love Nick Stone’s Voodoo Eyes. An elegiac and bittersweet rumination on time and fate and how life has changed so quickly on us. A perfect ending to the Max Mingus trilogy, written in blood-soaked prose and gritty heartsong. A paean to the lost and disappeared landscapes of the last century.